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William Hastie, W.E.B. Du Bois, and unidentified man, ca.1947
Front to back: William Hastie, W.E.B. Du Bois,
and unidentified, ca.1947

The Department of Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) makes reasonable attempts to clarify the copyright status of materials under its care, but cannot claim copyright for every individual item: even if a donor has transferred intellectual property to the letters she has written, for example, she cannot transfer copyright to letters written by others. When it comes to letters received by the donor — half or more of most collections — copyright remains with the writer.

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Cynthia Shepard Perry Papers, 1946-2010

7 boxes (10.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 842
Cynthia Shepard Perry, ca.1986
Cynthia Shepard Perry, ca.1986

An educator, diplomat, and expert on Africa, Cynthia Shepard Perry was the first recipient of a PhD from of the Program in International Education at UMass Amherst (1972). Born in Burnett, Indiana, in 1928, Perry was raising a family when she set a twenty-five year goal of earning doctorate and entering international service. One year after earning a bachelor’s degree at Indiana State University in 1967, she arranged for her first trip to Africa, leading a secretarial training project at the University of Nairobi, and over succeeding decades, her connections to the continent deepened dramatically. On faculty at Texas Southern University (1971-1982), Perry served as Associate Director of the university’s Peace Corps Program, which resulted in her leading educational projects in Sierra Leone, Ghana, Nigeria, Liberia, and Kenya. In demand for the expertise she had gained, she worked as a consultant to the US Information Service in Kenya, Nigeria, and Zambia and as Staff Development Officer at the UN Economic Commission for Africa in Addis Ababa. Having become a full professor and Dean of International Affairs, she left TSU in 1982 to take her first diplomatic post as an officer of the Africa Bureau of the US Agency for International Development, followed by successive appointments as Ambassador to Sierra Leone (1986-1989) and Burundi (1989-1993), as Honorary Consul General of Rwanda, and finally an appointment as U.S. Executive Director of the African Development Bank (1996-2001). Although officially retired, Perry remains active in supporting education and development in Africa from her home in Houston. Among many other awards she has received, Perry was the recipient of an honorary doctorate from UMass for her international work and was recognized by the Salute to Service Award.

A record of a life in international service in Africa, the Perry papers includes materials from Perry’s time as head of the African Development Bank and her two ambassadorial appointments, including speeches, some correspondence, and a handful of publications. The collection also includes a series of awards and plaques, some family photographs, and memorabilia.


  • Africa--Foreign relations--United States
  • Burundi--History
  • Sierra Leone--United States
  • United States--Foreign relations--Africa

Types of material

  • Memorabilia
  • Photographs

Robert and Martha Perske Papers, 1964-2005

13 boxes (19.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 772
Bob and Martha Perske with their dog, Wolfie, 2004
Bob and Martha Perske with their dog, Wolfie, 2004

While serving with the U.S. Navy in the Philippines during World War II, the teenaged Bob Perske became aware of the vulnerable and disabled in society and turned his life toward advocacy on their behalf. Studying for the ministry after returning to civilian life, Perske was appointed chaplain at the Kansas Neurological Institute, serving children with intellectual disabilities for 11 years, after which he became a full-time street, court, and prison worker — a citizen advocate — laboring in the cause of deinstitutionalization and civil rights of persons with disabilities, particularly those caught in the legal system. After Bob married his wife Martha in 1971, the two became partners in work, with Martha often illustrating Bob’s numerous books and articles. In 2002, Perske was recognized by the American Bar Association as the only non-lawyer to ever receive the Paul Hearne Award for Services to Persons with Disabilities.

The Perske Papers contains a fifty year record of published and unpublished writings by Bob Perske on issues surrounding persons with disabilities, along with correspondence, photographs, and other materials relating to the Perskes’ activism. The correspondence includes a particularly rich set of letters with a fellow advocate for persons with disabilities, Robert R. Williams.


  • Mental retardation--Social aspects
  • People with disabilities--Deinstitutionalization
  • People with disabilities--Legal status, laws, etc.


  • Perske, Martha
  • Williams, Robert R.

Types of material

  • Photographs

Polish Women's Club of Three Rivers Records, 1924-1994

3 boxes (1.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 391

Polish-American women’s club located near Palmer, Massachusetts, that aims to encourage Polish women to become United States citizens and provide them with classes in the English language; to take an active part in local, state and federal politics; to support local Polish-owned businesses; to preserve and integrate Polish culture with those of other ethnicities present in the United States; to encourage higher education in the Polish-American community.

Includes meeting minutes (primarily in Polish), histories, anniversary programs, town and state citations, and government publications, documenting the activities, membership, and national recognition of the club over a period of seventy years.


  • Americanization--History--20th century
  • Palmer (Mass.)--Ethnic relations--20th century
  • Palmer (Mass.)--Social conditions--20th century
  • Poles--Cultural assimilation--Massachusetts--History--20th century
  • Polish American friendly societies--Massachusetts--Palmer--History
  • Polish Americans--Ethnic identity--History--20th century
  • Polish Americans--Massachusetts--Palmer
  • Polish Americans--Political activity--History--20th century


  • Massachusetts Federation of Polish Women's Clubs
  • Polish American Women Citizens Political Club of Three Rivers and Thorndike (Palmer, Mass.)
  • Polish Women's Club of Three Rivers (Palmer, Mass.)

Types of material

  • Programs

James R. Powell Collection, 1958-2010

27 boxes (16.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 701

A devoted reader of newspaper cartoon strips, Jim Powell began collecting Peanuts cartoon books in the mid-1970s, prompted by obtaining two pure-bred beagles for his son.

The Powell cartoon book collection consists of 419 mass market paperback copies of popular cartoon books, representing the work of well-known cartoonists such as Charles M. Schultz, Johnny Hart, Gary Larson, Garry Trudeau, Jim Davis, and Berke Breathed. The collection has particularly rich runs of Peanuts, Garfield, and Doonesbury.


  • Comic books, strips, etc.


  • Davis, Jim, 1945 July 28-
  • Schulz, Charles M. (Charles Monroe), 1922-2000
  • Trudeau, G. B., 1948-
  • Watterson, Bill

Types of material

  • Cartoons
History of Protistology

“The province of protozoa, reminiscent of the fertile crescent in the Middle East, straddles the highways of thought that run between the major continents of biology. Down these roads come caravans of concepts and analogies: ideas about hierarchies and taxonomies from one direction, convictions about the basic structures and functions of life from another, opinions about reproduction and development from a third, and theories of the origin and evolution of life’s forms from still another quarter. It is uncanny how these separate trains of thought intersect one another in the land of the single-celled organisms. There they interact, exchange views, and rearrange their loads before they disperse again to inform other regions of biology of their contents and conclusions. A complete history of protozoology must recognize the centrality of this terrain.”

Frederick B. Churchill. 1989. “Toward the History of Protozoology,” Journal of the History of Biology 22: 185-187.

Protistology (formerly called protozoology) is the scientific study of unicellular eukaryotes and their relatives — single cells as living organisms. Protists make up 57 of the 60 distinct “ultrastructural identities” of eukaryotes, with the macroscopic forms most familiar to us (plants, animals and fungi) nestled amongst the other three (Simpson and Patterson, 2007). An extraordinarily diverse assemblage of organisms, protists have distinctive genetic systems, numerous primary, secondary, and tertiary levels of symbiosis, and unique cytoskeletons, and they play important roles in food webs and as pathogens. Among them are some of the most serious human parasites, including the malaria parasites Plasmodium spp., Leishmania, Trypanosoma, Entamoeba and Trichomonas. Many protists, such as Chlamydomonas, Tetrahymena, and Dictyostelium, have become important experimental organisms in scientific and medical research.

What do the Protistology Collections include?

The Protistology collections at UMass focus on the unique aspects of protist biology, those not found in plants, animals and fungi, but which inform our understanding of the evolution of these macroscopic lineages. In addition to having the professional papers, lab notebooks and journals of some of the leading 20th century protistologists, the collection includes the world’s primary repository of light and electron micrographs of protists. Due to the ubiquity and diversity of protists, the collections cross a broad range of disciplines and methodologies, from evolutionary biology to ecology, physiology, medicine, and public health.

The growing number of collections include the papers of:

For further information, please contact the Archivists.


Simpson and Patterson, 2007. In Katz, L.A. and D. Bhattacharya, eds. Genomics and Evolution of Microbial Eukaryotes. Oxford

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Quabbin Broadside Collection, 1859-1938

(2 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 022

During the 1920s and 1930s, the populations of four towns in the Swift River Valley, Mass., were relocated to make way for completion of the Quabbin Reservoir. Dana, Enfield, Greenwich, and Prescott were formally disincorporated in 1938, marking an end to over a century of small town government in the region.

The Quabbin Broadside Collection contains as assortment of printed and posted notices issued in three of the four Massachusetts towns that were flooded to create the Quabbin Reservoir. These include announcements for dances (including the Enfield Fire Department Farewell Ball in 1938), for plays performed by the North Dana Dramatic Club, and notification of voter registration and tax assessment.


  • Dana (Mass.)--History
  • Elections--Massachusetts--Enfield
  • Enfield (Mass.)--History
  • Greenwich (Mass.)--History
  • New Salem (Mass.)--History
  • Quabbin Reservoir Region (Mass.)--History
  • Theater--Massachusetts--Dana

Types of material

  • Broadsides
  • Maps
  • Playbills

Quabbin Towns Annual Reports Collection, 1864-1937

4 boxes (2 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 368

During the 1920s and 1930s, the populations of four towns in the Swift River Valley, Mass., were relocated to make way for completion of the Quabbin Reservoir. Dana, Enfield, Greenwich, and Prescott were formally disincorporated in 1938, marking an end to nearly a century of small town government in the region.

The annual reports of the four towns of the Quabbin region provide important documentation of the activities of the local officials and the lives of residents in Dana, Enfield, Greenwich, and Prescott. Issued under various titles and with variable content, these reports include information on the activities of town officials, including the Selectmen, Overseers of the Poor, School Committee, and Library. In most years, the reports also include town expenditures and a list of residents with a valuation of property and taxes paid. Although substantial, this collection is not complete, particularly prior to 1880.


  • Dana (Mass.)--History
  • Enfield (Mass.)--History
  • Greenwich (Mass.)--History
  • Prescott (Mass.)--History
  • Quabbin Reservoir Region (Mass.)--History

Radical Right Collection, 1966-1995 (Bulk: 1978-1993)

3 boxes (1.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 816

The sharp revival of the U.S. political right in the late 1970s and early 1980s was accompanied by a proliferation of white supremacist and other extremist organizations. Drawing on an mix of Neo-Nazi, white supremacist, Christian supremacist, and Libertarian ideologies, long-established organizations such as the John Birch Society, newly formed coalitions, and a new generation of leaders such as David Duke sought to shift the American political spectrum rightward through both formal political means and underground agitation.

The Radical Right Collection consists of newspapers, newsletters, and other publications from far-right organizations during the late 1960s through 1980s, along with associated ephemera and lists of extremist literature. The collection includes a significant run of the white supremacist magazine Instauration, the Neo-Nazi newspapers Attack and National Vanguard, the National Alliance Bulletin, and Richard Berkeley Cotten’s Conservative Viewpoint, along with publications from Christian rightists Gerald L. K. Smith (The Cross and the Flag), Billy James Hargis (Christian Crusade), and Chick Publications.


  • Antisemitism--Periodicals
  • Duke, David Ernest
  • Racism--Periodicals
  • Radicalism
  • Right-wing extremists


  • Cotten, Richard Berkeley
  • National Association for the Advancement of White People
  • National Vanguard (Organization)

Types of material

  • Newsletters

Radical Student Union Records, 1905-2006 (Bulk: 1978-2005)

22 boxes (14.5 linear feet)
Call no.: RG 045/80 R1

Founded by Charles Bagli in 1976, the Revolutionary Student Brigade at UMass Amherst (later the Radical Student Union) has been a focal point for organization by politically radical students. RSU members have responded to issues of social justice, addressing both local, regional, and national concerns ranging from militarism to the environment, racism and sexism to globalization.

The RSU records document the history of a particularly long-lived organization of left-leaning student activists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Beginning in the mid-1970s, as students were searching for ways to build upon the legacy of the previous decade, the RSU has been a constant presence on campus, weathering the Reagan years, tough budgetary times, and dramatic changes in the political culture at the national and state levels. The RSU reached its peak during the 1980s with protests against American involvement in Central America, CIA recruitment on campus, American support for the Apartheid regime in South Africa, and government-funded weapons research, but in later years, the organization has continued to adapt, organizing against globalization, sweatshops, the Iraq War, and a host of other issues.


  • Anti-apartheid movements--Massachusetts
  • Central America--Foreign relations--United States
  • College students--Political activity
  • Communism
  • El Salvador--History--1979-1992
  • Guatemala--History--1945-1982
  • Iraq War, 2003-
  • Nicaragua--History--1979-1990
  • Peace movements--Massachusetts
  • Persian Gulf War, 1991
  • Political activists--Massachusetts--History
  • Racism
  • Socialism
  • Student movements
  • United States--Foreign relations--Central America
  • United States. Central Intelligence Agency
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst


  • Progressive Student Network
  • Radical Student Union
  • Revolutionary Student Brigade

Types of material

  • Banners

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